07/29/13 11:06am
07/29/2013 11:06 AM

RIVERHEAD RACEWAY ROUNDUP

Dave Brigati of Calverton shook off a run of bad racing luck on Saturday evening in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Riverhead Raceway when he held off teammate Dave Sapienza of Riverhead to win a 35-lap NASCAR Modified feature event. It was his first win since returning to Riverhead full time at the start of the 2013 season.

At the finish, it was a relieved and happy Brigati scoring a much-needed win, one ironically that wouldn’t have come without a phone call from Sapienza,

“I tore up all my equipment early in the season,” Brigati said. “I was done, and then Sap calls me and asked if I wanted to drive his older car, and now I’m glad I said yes.”

Following was Timmy Solomito of Islip in third place. Howie Brode of East Islip was fourth and Jason Agugliaro of Islip fifth.

In other races:

Eric Zeh of Selden worked his way through the Charger field from a seventh starting position to score his third win of the season and in the process reclaimed sole possession of the points lead. Chad Churilla of Hauppauge had to settle for runner-up money. Chris Turbush of Riverhead crossed the finish line third.

The Blunderbust division normally can be counted on for quick running feature events, with many going from start to finish without a yellow flag, but that was not the case Saturday. A rough and tumble race ended on Lap 12 because of a time limit. Jimmy White Jr. of Southampton was declared the winner, giving him his second victory of the year. Tim Mulqueen of Levittown took second, and Brian Brown of Baiting Hollow ended up third.

In a 20-lap Legend Race Car feature, Vinny Delaney of Holtsville finally won his first career main event after coming close before. Timmy Solomito of Islip sped in second after making one last bid for the lead off a turn. He came up half a car length short. Veteran Paul Dodorico of Miller Place claimed third.

James Charrier of Shirley continued his domination of Grand Enduro racing, topping the field in a 50-lap feature. White was second. Third place went to Greg Zaleski of Jamesport.

In the 8-Cylinder Demolition Derby, the defending National Demolition Derby champion, Jason Savoy of Lake Panamoka, outlasted veteran Michael Rommeney of Maspeth for the victory. Both drivers were coming off wins from the Sunday before at the Orange County Fair.

In the School Bus Demolition Derby, Rommeney rebounded for the win after outlasting Savoy. Chris Van Cott of Commack was third.

07/27/13 5:00pm
07/27/2013 5:00 PM

GEORGE FAELLA FILE PHOTO | Jim Marrone hung on to the roof while Tonny Peterson drove through a wall of fire during the Tony Peterson Hell Drivers stunt show at Riverhead Raceway in 2011.

Demolition derbys have been a staple of Saturday night’s at Riverhead Raceway.

Tonight, for example, is a school bus demolition derby to go along with a full slate of racing.

NPR reporter Charles Lane recently visited Riverhead Raceway to catch some of the derby action. His report was published today, under the headline, ‘You Gotta Keep Smashin’ And Shashin’ And Smashin’!’

To hear the three-minute audio report from NPR, click here.

07/22/13 12:23pm
07/22/2013 12:23 PM

RIVERHEAD RACEWAY ROUNDUP

Howie Brode of East Islip make a late-race pass with 10 laps remaining to win the annual Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 NASCAR Modified race on Saturday at Riverhead Raceway.It was his third Whelen All-American Series feature win of the season.

After taking a victory lap, Brode choked back tears as he rolled into victory lane. “Even though we dropped back to third for a bit, this car was good and I just kept digging,” he said.

Afterward, Brode was presented with a trophy with a photo of all three drivers the race is named after. With his voice cracking, Brode said, “I think all three of these greats were riding with me tonight.”

Ron Silk of Norwalk, Conn., was the runner-up. Timmy Solomito of Islip scored a solid third-place finish. Dave Sapienza of Riverhead came in fourth, with teammate Dave Brigati of Calverton completing the top five.

In other races:

Scott Pedersen survived the sultry heat top triumph in a Figure Eight event that ran 13 of a scheduled 15 laps. Pedersen, the 2010 track champion, was named the race winner with the race checkered do to a time limit. Roger Maynor of Bay Shore moved up from ninth place to finish second. The defending champion, Mike Mujsce of Quogue, took third.

Ray Minieri of Bay Shore claimed victory in a 20-lap Charger race. Chris Turbush of Wading River may have been would motor off to his 35th career win but had other ideas. The two tested tough veterans put on a great side-by-side race for the lead over the final six laps. With two laps to go, Minieri made an inside pass of Turbush and stayed in front to score his second win of the year and 17th of his career.

“Chris and I ran hard but clean for the win,” Minieri said. “I hope the fans enjoyed it.”

Turbush, who had to settle for second, said, “I can’t recall being passed for the race lead but it was a good race.”

John Baker of Brookhaven was the third to cross the finish line.

With his AARP card tucked in his wallet, Ron Langdon of Wantagh celebrated his recent 50th birthday by winning a 20-lap Blunderbust feature event.

Tom Pickerell of Huntington dove under Langdon for the lead and was the first under the checker flag. However NASCAR officials determined that Pickerell’s last-turn pass found him under the yellow line, a decision that Pickerell agreed with in a sportsmanlike manner. That decision put Pickerell back one spot into second place, and Langdon, who began his driving career at Freeport Stadium, was declared the winner. Langdon’s car owner, Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge, finished third.

Soon to be high school senior Kyle Soper of Manorville scored his second career win in a Legend Race Cars 20-lap feature. His winning move took place when the race started. Armed with an outside pole starting spot, Soper was able to beat the pole sitter, Justin Strumpf, to the lead. Vinny Delaney of Holtsville was second, and Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches placed third.

07/15/13 2:29pm
07/15/2013 2:29 PM

RIVERHEAD RACEWAY ROUNDUP

Howie Brode of East Islip scored his second win of the 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday when he took first in a 35-lap Modified feature. It was his second win of the season and the 13th of his career.

With threatening, extremely hot and humid weather, competitors’ emotions ran high during the course of the program. It took numerous attempts to get the race underway, with minor spins and crashes, jumped restarts, passes under the yellow line and one incident that saw Tom Rogers Jr. disqualified from the race.

Asked if being out in front of the wild action behind him was the key to victory, Brode replied: “Any night you’re out front it’s a good thing but tonight for sure. I don’t know what was going on but I’m glad I wasn’t back there.”

Brode now finds himself atop the division with a commanding 42-point lead over Rogers.

Shawn Solomito of Islip earned his runner-up finish. Jason Agugliaro of Islip posted his best run of 2013 with a third-place tally. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown was fourth and Jerry Solomito Jr. of Islip was fifth. It was Solomito’s second straight top-five showing in his last two starts.

Emotions were also high in the 25-lap Late Model race but for a different reason. Ken Alfano of Southold drove to his first Late Model win since the death of his wife, Julie, a couple of years ago. She had cancer.

Alfano led the final 21 laps of the race when his biggest challenge was keeping tears from blurring his vision. After the win he parked his car against a wall, exited the car and blew kisses to the sky.

Alfano’s teammate, Chris LaSpisa of Shirley, driving a car painted pink in honor of the late Julie Alfano and others battling cancer, was a happy runner-up. Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Mass., took over the division points lead with his third-place finish.

The fourth generation of the famed Turbush racing family made his way to victory lane. Mark Stewart of Riverhead won a 20-lap Super Pro Truck contest. Stewart, the grandson of all-time leading Charger winner Dan Turbush and the nephew to brothers Chris and Roger Turbush, broke to the front at the throw of the green flag and stayed there the rest of the way. Dave Koenig of Freeport was second, and Roger Turbush of Riverhead won a battle for third.

Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead pocketed his third Legend Race Car win of the year in what was another dominating performance for the defending champion. Brendon Bock of Franklin Square was second, moving him to second place in points, trailing Ellwood by 54 markers. Kyle Soper of Manorville motored in third.

Anthony Pizzo of Lake Ronkonkoma continues to be the driver to beat when it comes to Eight-Cylinder Enduro events at Riverhead Raceway. He won yet again on Saturday. Rob McCormick of Calverton barely made it to the track in time after spotting for a driver in a race in New Hampshire. He nonetheless drove his car from 25th to second. Ed Brown Jr. of Mastic Beach led the race early and ended up third.

07/08/13 5:00pm
07/08/2013 5:00 PM

Ryan Preece captured his third consecutive win in his last three starts at Riverhead Raceway Saturday night when he raced across the finish line first in the Cromarty Cup 50.

Preece, of Berlin, Conn., was coming off a win the previous week at Riverhead in the Hoosier Tire 200. The night before he won at Stafford Motor Speedway. And next up will be a trip to the New Hampshire Speedway.

Timmy Solomito of Islip raced out to the early lead in the Cromarty Cup 50 with Howie Brode of East Islip close behind during the first 13 laps. A minor spin slowed the race and on a restart following the caution, Solomito missed a shift, costing him two positions. Preece made his move into second behind Brode.

Brode and Preece went back-and-forth over the next 10 laps. Preece raced under Brode on the inside on Lap 24 to take the lead. Preece maintained the lead over the second half of the race to pick up his seventh career win at Riverhead.

Solomito finished in second and Brode took third. Brode maintained his lead in the point standings with 202, just ahead of Tom Rogers Jr. with 190. Rounding out the top five in the race were Justin Bonsignore of West Islip and David Roys of Coram.

John Vullo of Farmingville won his second straight 15-lap Figure Eight race. Vullo got out to a quick lead in the race and had to hold off the hot pursuit of Roger Maynor of Bay Shore. Excelling on the restarts, Vullo held on for first as Maynor finished second. Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach finished third.

In the Charger race, Chris Turbush of Riverhead recorded a milestone victory. Turbush won his 35th career race and second of 2013. A four-time champion in the Charger division, Turbush grabbed the lead Saturday at the start of the ninth lap. He’s now 17 wins behind his father Dan Turbush, who leads the all-time list with 52 victories. Ray Minieri of Bay Shore was second and Eric Zeh of Selden was third.

Jack Handley Jr. of Medford picked up a victory in the 20-lap Blunderbust main event. Handley, 17, made an inside pass on Lap 17 to take the lead after starting the race 12th. Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge finished second and Scott Maliszewski of Deer Park finished third.

Johnnie Gloor IV of Flanders won the Legend Race after a long battle with Justin Strumpf, who was second. Brendon Bock of Franklin Square was third.

Jason Savoy of Lake Panamoka won the 4-Cylinder Demolition Derby for his first win of 2013.

07/01/13 4:00pm
07/01/2013 4:00 PM

Riverhead Raceway, Route 58, Riverhead Toyota

Ryan Preece of Berlin, Conn., won his third consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified tour race Saturday night with a victory in the Hoosier Tire 200 at Riverhead Raceway. Preece won a thrilling race in come-from-behind fashion.

Preece drove into first in Lap 43, passing Ron Silk of Norwalk, Conn. Preece remained the race leader after feeling some heat from Donny Lia, who rode up the left body panel of Preece’s car. Lia’s car spun out and Preece sustained some body damage to his car’s left rear, but continued on.

In Lap 93, Preece’s front right tire went flat, creating havoc on the outside lane. When the field reset, John Beatty Jr, a Riverhead Raceway regular, took the lead with Timmy and Shawn Solomito behind him. Timmy’s night came to an end shortly after when his car overheated.

Ted Christopher rode into second and wasted little time closing ground on Beatty. After several laps side-by-side, Christopher snagged the lead on Lap 136. Meanwhile, Preece came roaring through the pack with a new tire. He closed to third late in the race but still faced a significant distance to reach the leaders.

Christopher and Todd Szegedy were battling for first when Szegedy pushed against the wall exiting a turn as he tried to make an outside pass. The ensuing caution allowed Preece an opportunity to make up ground.

On the Lap 193 restart, Christopher spun his wheels, sending him into a spin and striking the caution car. Preece capitalized by grabbing first place.

Eric Goodale of Riverhead was the runner-up while Beatty placed third in what was a career race for him. Defending Riverhead Raceway champion Shawn Solomito finished fourth and Mike Stefanik of Coventry, R.I., was fifth.

The win was worth about $7,700 to Preece.

“What a roll we’re on right now,” Preece said after the race.

Preece also won the Riverhead 200 last September.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will make its second and final stop at Riverhead Raceway Sept. 14 for the Green Earth Technologies 200.

06/17/13 2:32pm
06/17/2013 2:32 PM

RIVERHEAD RACEWAY

After winning six times in 2012, NASCAR Modified veteran Tom Rogers Jr. didn’t take long to register his first of 2013. The Patchogue driver triumphed in a 35-lap race on Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway. It was his 21st career triumph at the demanding quarter mile oval.

Rogers took the lead when Timmy Solomito’s car broke a pinion in the rear end, forcing him to the infield and handing the lead of the race over to Rogers early in the race.

In the end, though, there was no catching Rogers, who drove to victory on his birthday, the first time he had done so in 12 years, he said.

When reminded that at one point in the race on a double-file restart he was third, surrounded by three Solomito brothers, Rogers said: “I’ve raced with all three before. They run clean as I try to run them clean, too, so it was no issue.”

Shawn Solomito of Islip was second. Eddie Brunnhoelzl of Levittown salvaged his night with a third-place tally. Jerry Solomito Jr. of Islip finished fourth and Howie Brode of East Islip gained sole possession of the points lead with his fifth-place effort.

In other races:

For the 109th time in his career, Roger Maynor of Bay Shore took a win, claiming a 15-lap Figure Eight feature event. Maynor executed a textbook crossover move that propelled him to the race lead on Lap 8. Mike Mujsce of Quogue came in second, and Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach had to settle for third.

Over the first three Charger races of the season, Ray Minieri of Bay Shore had not had the best of luck. That all changed Saturday when he was in the right spot at the right time to win the 30-lap feature event for the class.

Minieri took the lead on the 14th lap after Chris Turbush was forced to the pits because of a peeled back right front fender. Despite being chased by C. J. Lehmann of Mastic Beach for the entire second half of the race, Minieri drove his Dodge to the winner’s circle for the 16th time in his career. Lehmann was second. Chad Churilla of Hauppauge took a third for the third consecutive race.

The Blunderbust class once again thrilled fans with some late-race excitement as Brian Brown of Baiting Hollow notched his first career win as a result of some wild happenings.

Jack Handley Jr., who started 11th in the 19-car field, carefully picked his way through traffic before setting his sights on the leader, Bill Wegmann Jr., on Lap 15. Just moments after receiving the two-to-go signal, Handley looked to the inside of Wegmann on the first turn. Wegmann, however, tried to thwart the effort and contact was made off turn two. While neither driver ever spun, they did have to step off the gas, and that opened the door for Brown to take the lead. For the last lap and a half, Jimmy White Jr. was glued to Brown’s rear bumper, but Brown remained poised at the wheel and secured the win in thrilling fashion. White of Southampton was second. The defending champion, Tom Pickerell of Huntington, took third after moving up from 16th starting position.

The defending Super Pro Truck champion, Roger Turbush of Riverhead, notched his 15th career win in the class, taking first in a 20-lap main event.

Dave Koenig of Baldwin kept close to Turbush over the distance of the race, finishing second. Lou Maestri of Deer Park came in third.

The race concluded literally in a ball of fire as Erin Dumicich-Solomito, who was running among the top five, blew the engine after taking the white flag with a flash fire engulfing her truck for a moment. After taking in some oxygen she was “O.K.,” according to a raceway statement.

Mike Smith of Kings Park scored the win in the hard-hitting 8-Cylinder Demolition Derby.

06/10/13 12:40pm
06/10/2013 12:40 PM

Ryan Preece of Berlin, Conn., won another signature event at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night. He earned his fifth career win at the track, taking first place in the Evans Nascar Hall of Fame 100.

Among Preece’s wins in the past are two Nascar Whelen Modified Tours, including last year’s race, as well as the 2012 Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 Memorial last July in Nascar Modified.

Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, the 2011 Riverhead champion, was second. Ron Silk of Norwalk, Conn., placed third, Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue was fourth and Howie Brode of East Islip rallied from a 25th-lap spin for fifth.

Brode and Preece are knotted for the points lead with 136, but Preece has commitments over the next two weeks that will take him away from Long Island, Shawn Solomito is third with 112.

In other races:

Eric Zeh of Selden won his second Charger race of the season the old-fashioned way, with an outside pass of John Baker with just two laps remaining in the race. The race, which did not involve a single caution flag, saw John Baker of Brookhaven come in second. Newcomer Chad Churilla of Hauppauge made a late-race move for his second consecutive third-place tally.

Timmy Solomito of Islip cashed in on a 30-lap Legend Race Car feature event, leading all the way to score the victory. He was followed by second-place Johnnie Gloor IV of Flanders and third-place Brendon Bock of Franklin Square.

James Charrier of Shirley notched his first Grand Enduro win of 2013 in dominating fashion in a 50-lap main event. Brian McCormack of Holbrook was the runner-up. Jimmy White of Southampton crossed the finish line third.